ISSUE 62 | MAY 15, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Governor Wolf announces New Deal-esqe civilian corps to help with COVID-19 response
Governor Tom Wolf has announced a plan to establish a “Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps,” modeled partly from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps program.

While the new program’s details are not yet clear, the governor stated that it will involve training dislocated and unemployed workers to conduct COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

Philly-area businesses say federal payroll protection loans put them at risk
Some small business owners in the Philadelphia area are concerned about the restrictions and requirements surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The U.S. Small Business Administration may turn PPP loans into grants, but only if the recipients spend three quarters of their funding on payroll.

Business owners who decide to spend PPP funding on other urgent costs would accumulate debt they may struggle to repay.

PA childcare centers navigate pandemic guidelines
The 1,500 Pennsylvania childcare centers that reopened to care for the children of essential workers are now trying to adjust to statewide guidelines during the pandemic.

Regulations have not changed, but the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning has urged providers to follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends limiting the number of children in each classroom and requiring older children to wear masks.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Over 20 million private-sector jobs are gone  
According to the ADP National Employment Report, more than 20 million private sector jobs were lost between March and April.

  • Large businesses cut nearly nine million of those jobs.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses cut about six million and 5.3 million respectively.

Most of the lost jobs were in either the service sector or the manufacturing industry.

The challenging labor market experiences of nontraditional workers
A new analysis by the Hamilton Project examines the extent to which the pandemic has disrupted the economic lives of nontraditional workers—people who are self-employed, hired by intermediaries, or employed irregularly on an as-needed basis. The authors found evidence that nontraditional workers are likelier than traditional workers to experience disruption in their employment schedules. Nontraditional workers are also much less likely to receive nonwage compensation (e.g., employer-provided health insurance).

Economic blow hits already-stressed farmers
The coronavirus pandemic has added economic pressure and uncertainty for America’s farmers, who had already been struggling with issues such as:

  • climate change
  • trade wars
  • mental health crises.

Some experts are concerned that the impact of the pandemic on agricultural markets will exacerbate mental health issues and suicide rates among farmers, partly because rural areas often have insufficient access to behavioral health care.

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